Discussing the merits of tree of life form for restoration druids, Ghostcrawler wrote:
I think the best way to explain it is that when the Shadow priest has a model to follow — there are dps casters and in this case, a class with healing capabilities is deciding to turn its back on those abilities in order to be more like those casters. You can debate the relative power and utility of say Shadow priest and warlock, but at a high level there is a lot of overlap there. Now consider the Resto druid who decides to go Tree of Life. He is becoming a new type of character – he isn’t like the other healers, because they aren’t giving up buttons (except for those already absent from their talent tree). The Resto druid is giving up buttons, and for what? To be as effective a healer as the others. (You can argue Resto druids are overpowered if you’d like, but it certainly isn’t the design that Tree of Life allows druids to be the best healer in the game).
So, to start with, Ghostcrawler is saying it's ok for shadow priests to be locked out of healing in return for the superior dps that shadowform brings, but in the same breath questions whether that same tradeoff for restoration druids is acceptable. I get the impression from this and other comments that Blizzard is concerned that it may not be.
Two questions jumped out when I saw this:
- Why should healers be any different from dps?
- Why is he using shadow priests, not moonkin, as the comparison?
First, why are healers so special? You could take Ghostcrawler's statement about resto druids and replace every reference with shadow priests to make perfect sense. Look:
Now consider the
Resto druidpriest who decides to go Tree of Lifeshadow. He is becoming a new type of character – he isn’t like the other healersdps, because they aren’t giving up buttons (except for those already absent from their talent tree). The Resto druidshadow priest is giving up buttons, and for what? To be as effective a healerdps as the others.
This cuts to the very heart of what it means to be a hybrid class in World of Warcraft today. Hybrid does not mean you can do all things at once, it means you have the capability to fulfil a variety of functions. We all have to make a choice. There is a reason why we have a finite number of talent points, and why we must invest in specific trees to unlock the best abilities. Shaman and paladins may not have forms, but they make the same sacrifices that priests and druids make on their way to mastering their chosen role — otherwise I would be dual-wielding titansteel guardians on my elemental shaman. Forms, after all, are nothing more than talent choices, albeit with some fancy skins thrown into the bargain. This is a choice we all make willingly.
So why then should Blizzard see restoration druids in a different light? And why is the tradeoff for tree of life not acceptable to the druid healer? Especially when the same trade is made by caster, melee and tanking druids?
I suspect the answer, as usual when issues of balance come up, is to do with pvp. I suspect a priest who can heal in shadow and a druid that can heal in animal form is considered overpowered by Blizzard. I do not know why an elemental shaman or a retribution paladin is not. But resto druids are the only healers shackled by a form — unlike shadow priests, every single one of their counterparts has free access to their entire spellbook at all times.
This, incidentally, is the answer to the second question — why pick on shadow priests, not a druid's other forms? I believe that's because the argument appears unacceptably thin when you're comparing talents of the same class...
I just don't get the distinction. As a shadow priest, I accept my tradeoff, I welcome it. But I'd do the same as a druid, wouldn't I? On a fundamental level, every player hates things that limit them — that why warriors hate stances, and hunters hate changing aspects. But for every limitation, their is a reward. Isn't that what forms are all about? And surely druids, of all the classes, get that?